20 May 2013

Bank lending restrictions should be broad-based - RBNZ

7:34 am on 20 May 2013

The Reserve Bank says it doesn't see its role as helping to make houses more affordable, or in helping would-be first home buyers.

In its response released on Friday to submissions on tools it might use to prick a housing market bubble and deal with other risks to the financial system, the Reserve Bank says it favours a broad-based approach to any bank-lending restrictions with only limited exemptions.

Exemptions for first-home buyers could significantly dilute the effectiveness of such tools, the central bank says.

It doesn't favour targeting specific regions such as Auckland either.

Rather than banning lending to home buyers with only small deposits, the central bank says it favours imposing "speed limits".

For example, it might restrict bank lending to those with only 5% of a house's value to, say, 5% of a bank's mortgage borrowing.

The central bank also acknowledges the risk other lenders might engage in risky lending if banks were prevented from doing so and it plans to monitor any such developments and, perhaps, extend any lending restrictions to non-bank lenders.